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Employee rights to workers' comp not linked to OSHA citations

Workers nationwide, including San Diego, California, are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages -- and more in some cases -- if they suffered work-related injuries. These employee rights to benefits are based on a no-fault system, meaning that they can file benefits claims even if they were at fault. A recent case in another state demonstrates that even if a judge throws out a fine issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it will not jeopardize the injured worker's rights to compensation.

In that case, an OSHA citation was appealed by a poultry processing plant owner. The fine arose from an incident in which a worker was ordered to clean the area below a conveyor belt while it was working. It appears the worker lost his balance and grabbed onto the conveyor's underside. An unguarded, ingoing nip-point caught his arm and caused a compound fracture.

OSHA inspectors proposed the maximum fine of $12,675. This was for a serious violation of failure to install a guard to prevent contact with the conveyor belt's underside or the ingoing nip-point. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission determined that the OSHA investigators failed to meet the burden of proof that the worker's presence in the danger zone was reasonably predictable.

Regardless of the finding of the OSHRC when an employer challenges the outcome of an OSHA investigation, workers maintain their employee rights to fair compensation after suffering a work-related injury. Victims of on-the-job injuries in San Diego can utilize the skills of a California attorney who has experience in fighting for the rights of injured workers. Legal counsel can assist with the administrative and legal proceedings in pursuit of workers' compensation benefits.

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